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Learned Student, Honest.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Look, we're talking about destinies here...

I attend a church which is a parish of a larger Body and the head of this organization called a special fast this year, unlike the usual expected annual fasts. A fast like this has not been called since 1995, thereabout. 

Initially, I had some questions and justifications: 

I mean is a fast “like that” really intended for people “like me?” 
Surely, people “like me” are exempt from something “like that.” 

Along with the call to fast came some prophetic declarations. 

So my desire to take hold of these prophecies coupled with some friends (accountability partners - wooop!) allowed me to put those reservations aside. Okay we’re going to do this, all the way, one day at a time, here we go… *fist pump* 

Fast forward to today, I was briefly chatting with someone this morning and they say: btw, I’m going to fast from n time to n time because of X reasons. 

And of course, the questions ensued again: 

  1. Wait, hold up, is this fast from 12 a.m. to 6 p.m., 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., or when you wake up to 6 p.m.? 
  2. If you wake up at –a.m. is that considered night or morning? 
  3. What if you work nights or a have circadian rhythm different from the “average?” Do you then alter the fast to your schedule? 
  4. Why is it 6 p.m. and not 5 p.m. or 7 p.m.? 
  5. Juice is really allowed? 
  6. Tea is allowed, but what if I don’t drink tea, can I drink my version of tea? 
  7. If smoothies are allowed, couldn’t one essentially blend all meals into a smoothie? 
  8. Can we take vitamins, you know to stay healthy? 
I texted three other people variations of some of the questions above and of course I got varied answers: 

Well technically… 
The General Overseer said… 
I do this… 
You should do that… 

I like to know why I am doing what I am doing – full understanding, full disclosure. And if I commit to doing something, I want to make sure I am doing it the right way. Moreover, when calls to fast by respected people of God, accompany certain prophetic declarations and you commit to doing it, you want to make sure you’re doing it right and not get disqualified “DQ’d” so to say on a technicality. I remember several track meets where everyone was waiting for the actual sprint relay results because a team may have DQ’d if they passed the baton outside of the exchange zone, or if someone had earrings on or did any one of the laundry list of things you could not legally do in a race. 

This past weekend, I was researching all things fasting – what are people doing out there in world wide web when it comes to fasting.  I was a little surprised to learn some people periodically fast 1 to 3 times a week for reasons that have nothing to do with religion, like just because, it’s supposed to be healthy or something – what?! So there are people in the world that are fasting not out of religious sacrifice or poverty but out of choice as a diet. But it’s not even called a diet; it’s called fasting, like legit. And people are just commenting away on these online articles about how they have “fasted;” essentially a weight-loss hunger-strike. No offense if you happen to be among those people. I digress. 

In my research, *clears throat* I came across a statement to the effect of “when you fast you’re entrusting your health to a higher power.” Eureka. When one chooses to fast, our mind should not be consumed with the adverse effects of weight gain or weight loss, caloric intake, or metabolism speed. It’s honestly much much easier to type this than it is to adopt this mind frame especially when you come from a culture which is very honest, brutally honest, in fact (a word is enough for the wise). But it’s deeper than that, it’s bigger than that. As one friend said to me today, “look, we’re talking about destinies here.” *drop the mic* 

True story! 

When fasting becomes so rigid and tied to specific rules that we’re all trying to follow and not break the rules, it becomes less about the sacrifice and more about laws, “check mark” But we’re no longer under the law! (go figure

If you’re like me, in these instances, erase your need to know the rules, what’s right, what’s wrong etc. We’re talking about sacrifice – point blank. I’d venture to say that no two fasts (fasters) are ever going to be exactly like. ie someone may exercise during their fast, someone may swear off exercising while fasting -- God is looking at the heart. 

When we’re occupied with what we’re going to do as soon as we break the fast to reverse any effects of the fast, we also need to be careful that we’re not also reversing the effects of the sacrifice – whether that is spiritually possible, I’m not entirely sure – but I know God will judge the heart.  Although, it seems logical that if we’re going to fast from something temporarily only to replace exactly what we have fasted from at a later time, it may not rightfully be termed fasting, perhaps “pausing” is more like it. Again much easier typed than done! Even still, God is looking at the heart. 

Definitely one cannot forsake wisdom in all this.  Each fast will always be person-specific. Ultimately, what matters is that we’re developing our intimacy and reliance on the Trinity – the Father, His Son seated at His right Hand and the power of the Holy Spirit in us. 

Lord, grant everyone who sets out to fast as a sacrifice in Your Name, the grace to pray and fast and complete the fast in Jesus name. And may the fasting not be in vain in Jesus name, Amen.

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